Monday, October 22, 2018
ST JOHN PAUL II
Romans, Chapter 13, Verse 8-10
8 Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, [namely] “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.
Bishop Fulton Sheen is one of his weekly addresses in February 1999 entitled "Truth - Forgotten Ideal” stated:
Submission is one of the deepest needs of the human heart. After a century and a half of false liberalism, in which it was denied that anything is true, and that it makes no difference what you believe, the world reacted to totalitarianism. It grew tired of its freedom, just as children in progressive schools grow tired of their license to do whatever they please. Freedom fatigues those who want to shirk responsibility. Then it is they look for some false god into whose hands they can throw themselves, so they will never have to think or make decisions for themselves. Nazism, Fascism, and Communism came into being during the twentieth century, as a reaction against false liberalism.
True Audacity of Hope
Today is also the feast of Saint John Paul II. He was a man afflicted, he was a man of endurance, he stresses that Christ is our only hope and he showed us the love of God.
Karol Wojtyla came of age at one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century. When he was 19 years old and just commencing his university career, the Nazis rolled through his native Poland and instigated a reign of terror over the country. Almost immediately, the conquerors decapitated Polish society, killing the intelligentsia outright or sending them to concentration camps. All distinctive forms of Polish culture were cruelly suppressed, and the church was actively persecuted. Young Wojtyla displayed heroic courage by joining the underground seminary run by the Cardinal of Krakow and by forming a small company of players who kept Polish literature and drama alive. Many of his colleagues in both of these endeavors were killed or arrested in the course of those terrible years of occupation. Sadly, the Nazi tyranny was replaced immediately by the Communist tyranny, and Fr. Wojtyla was compelled to manifest his courage again. In the face of harassment, unfair criticism, the threat of severe punishment, etc., he did his priestly work, forming young people in the great Catholic spiritual and theological tradition. Even as a bishop, Wojtyla was subject to practically constant surveillance (every phone tapped; every room bugged; his every movement tracked), and he was continually, in small ways and large, obstructed by Communist officialdom. And yet he soldiered on. Of course, as Pope, he ventured into the belly of the beast, standing athwart the Communist establishment and speaking for God, freedom, and human rights. In doing so, he proved himself one of the most courageous figures of the twentieth century. Karol Wojtyla was a man who exhibited the virtue of justice to a heroic degree. Throughout his papal years, John Paul II was the single most eloquent and persistent voice for human rights on the world stage. In the face of a postmodern relativism and indifferentism, John Paul took the best of the Enlightenment political tradition and wedded it to classical Christian anthropology. The result was a sturdy defense of the rights to life, liberty, education, free speech, and above all, the free exercise of religion. More persuasively than any other political figure, east or west, John Paul advocated for justice.
George Weigel titled his magisterial biography of John Paul II, Witness to Hope, by identifying Karol Wojtyla with a theological virtue. In October of 1978, the newly elected Pope John Paul II gave his inaugural speech to a packed St. Peter’s Square. This man, who had witnessed at first hand the very worst of the twentieth century, who had intimate experience of how twisted and wicked human beings can be, spoke over and over again this exhortation: “Be not afraid.” There was, of course, absolutely no political or cultural warrant for that exhortation, no purely natural justification for it. It could come only from a man whose heart was filled with the supernatural sense that the Holy Spirit is the Lord of history. Finally, was Karol Wojtyla in possession of love, the greatest of the theological virtues? The best evidence I can bring forward is the still breathtaking encounter that took place in a grimy Roman jail cell in December of 1983. John Paul II sat down with Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who had, only a year and a half before, fired several bullets into the Pope. John Paul spoke to him, embraced him, listened to him, and finally forgave him. Love is not a feeling or a sentiment. It is, Thomas Aquinas reminds us, an act of the will, more precisely, willing the good of the other. This is why the love of one’s enemies—those who are not disposed to wish us well—is the great test of love. Did John Paul II express love in a heroic way? He forgave the man who tried to kill him; no further argument need be made.
Amoris Lætitia Growing in conjugal love, a love that reveals itself and increases (133-135)
The love of friendship unifies all aspects of marital life and helps family members to grow constantly. This love must be freely and generously expressed in words and acts. In the family, “three words need to be used. I want to repeat this! Three words: ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’. Three essential words!” “In our families when we are not overbearing and ask: ‘May I?’; in our families when we are not selfish and can say: ‘Thank you!’; and in our families when someone realizes that he or she did something wrong and is able to say ‘Sorry!’, our family experiences peace and joy.” Let us not be stingy about using these words, but keep repeating them, day after day. For “certain silences are oppressive, even at times within families, between husbands and wives, between parents and children, among siblings”. The right words, spoken at the right time, daily protect and nurture love. All this occurs through a process of constant growth. The very special form of love that is marriage is called to embody what Saint Thomas Aquinas said about charity in general. “Charity”, he says, “by its very nature, has no limit to its increase, for it is a participation in that infinite charity which is the Holy Spirit… Nor on the part of the subject can its limit be fixed, because as charity grows, so too does its capacity for an even greater increase”. Saint Paul also prays: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another” (1 Th 3:12), and again, “concerning fraternal love… we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more” (1 Th 4:9-10). More and more! Marital love is not defended primarily by presenting indissolubility as a duty, or by repeating doctrine, but by helping it to grow ever stronger under the impulse of grace. A love that fails to grow is at risk. Growth can only occur if we respond to God’s grace through constant acts of love, acts of kindness that become ever more frequent, intense, generous, tender and cheerful. Husbands and wives “become conscious of their unity and experience it more deeply from day to day”. The gift of God’s love poured out upon the spouses is also a summons to constant growth in grace. It is not helpful to dream of an idyllic and perfect love needing no stimulus to grow. A celestial notion of earthly love forgets that the best is yet to come, that fine wine matures with age. As the Bishops of Chile have pointed out, “the perfect families proposed by deceptive consumerist propaganda do not exist. In those families, no one grows old, there is no sickness, sorrow or death… Consumerist propaganda presents a fantasy that has nothing to do with the reality which must daily be faced by the heads of families.” It is much healthier to be realistic about our limits, defects and imperfections, and to respond to the call to grow together, to bring love to maturity and to strengthen the union, come what may.
The Way Prayer
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
1 Don't neglect your spiritual reading. — Reading has made many saints
 Pope Francis, Encyclical on Love.
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